Who would have ever thought, that one month ago when we posted our February newsletter, our world was about to change in one of the most dramatic, historic and tragic ways possible. What all of us have been experiencing in recent days and weeks is a lot to handle, emotionally and physically. Times like these definitely shine a spotlight on the work that we all do, and how utterly important it is to keep ourselves and our neighbors healthy.
Here are a few things that have been on the forefront for The Alliance recently. Please take a minute to read through these points and then reach out if you have any questions or comments.
- All Things COVID-19
We understand how stressful and worried everyone is as we all try and grapple with this new normal. If you’re a behavioral health provider, you can find lots of resources on our site in this post, which we will be adding to as necessary. We’ve got information and best practices from the National Council on Behavioral Health and information on the new Telehealth guidelines from Montana DPHHS. If there’s something you need that you can’t find, reach out to us at [email protected] and we’ll try and track it down for you. At this point, we’re all in it together – whatever IT happens to be!
- Montana Peer Support Summit – CANCELLED!
We had high hopes for our summit on May 5th in Helena but we are indefinitely postponing it until the coast is clear. Don’t worry. We’ll still hold it. It’ll just be when we can all be in the same room safely again.
- Behavioral Health Candidate Forum
We haven’t yet cancelled this forum but expect that we will have to change the way it’s held. At this point, we’re considering receiving written responses to the questions we posed to the candidates, and then posting them online so you can review. We’ll keep you posted as we make decisions on this exciting forum, so you can find out how the candidates for governor, attorney general, and insurance commissioner feel about behavioral health needs in Montana. One thing this pandemic has done is shine a light on how fragile the behavioral health system in Montana really is. Lessons learned now should inform our creation of a new system that is less vulnerable to emergencies in the future.
- Montana’s 1135 CMS Waiver
Our partners at DPHHS have been working diligently on filing an 1135 waiver with CMS. This waiver will allow the state to take the steps they deem necessary during the emergency. We’ve made a number of suggestions to them about funding behavioral health agencies during this crisis so that we aren’t forced to close our doors due to a lack of cash. We’ll keep you posted when that waiver comes out. We know everyone has been working with low or no cash reserves since the budget cuts two years ago and we’re trying to come up with solutions that will keep you solvent as you care for some of the state’s most vulnerable citizens.
Again, please reach out to me if there is anything you need. When we work together, we can solve all the problems out there!
Stay safe. Stay healthy.